Page last updated at 11:12 GMT, Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Gaddafi wants Caribbean in Africa

Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi in Tripoli, Libya, on 10 February 2009
Col Gaddafi also raised eyebrows with another AU speech last week

Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi has said he would like a United States of Africa to include "Caribbean islands with African populations".

Col Gaddafi, speaking in Tripoli as the African Union's (AU) new chairman, said this could include Haiti, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.

The Libyan leader also sympathised with Somali pirates, describing their actions as self-defence.

Last week he said that multi-party democracy was not right for Africa.

The BBC's Rana Jawad in the Libyan capital says Col Gaddafi's critics believe he is too erratic to be chairman of the 53-nation AU.

A week into his appointment his agenda for Africa is expanding and his views remain as controversial as ever to some people, she says.

Praise for pirates

Celebrating his new role at his compound in Tripoli on Tuesday, Col Gaddafi suggested Caribbean islands should join the AU and become a bridge between Africa and Latin America.

He went on to tell a gathering of some 400 guests that Somali pirates were only hitting back against other countries stealing marine wealth from the region's waters.

Col Gaddafi said the United Nations should protect Somali waters from the piracy of other countries.

He also said he would use his 12 months at the helm of the AU to try to resolve Africa's conflicts, including Darfur and Somalia.

Last week, the Libyan leader used his inaugural address as rotating head of the AU in Ethiopia to push his long-cherished pet project of a United States of Africa.

He envisages a single African military force, a single currency and a single passport for Africans to move freely around the continent.

But the response from many of his fellow African leaders was lukewarm, with some saying the proposal would add an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy.

He also raised eyebrows by saying that multi-party democracy only led to bloodshed in Africa and that the best model for Africa was his own country, where opposition parties are not allowed.

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